Nathan Righi did it all Thursday for the Pekin baseball team.
He pitched a two-hitter, fanned 10, and hit a solo homer in the top of the fourth inning that proved to be the winning run in the Dragons’ 3-1 victory over East Peoria at Dave Rodgers Field at EastSide Centre.
But he almost didn’t do it all.
Righi’s final pitch of the game, which resulted in a groundout, was pitch No. 104. Had that batter reached base, Righi would have had to come out of the game because of the IHSA’s pitch-count rule.
A pitcher cannot start pitching to a new batter if he’s thrown 104 or more pitches.
“Nathan started the inning at 90 pitches. I told him he had to go after their batters,” said Pekin coach Larry Davis. “He got them out 1-2-3. I would have put Bryson Swift in there if Righi had to come out.”
The most batters Righi faced in an inning was five in the first, when East Peoria (2-10, 0-7) scored its lone run on an error on a rundown play. Righi walked three.
Pekin (7-7, 3-5) tied the game in the third when Braden Shane scored from third on an error after he singled, moved to second on an error and was sacrificed to third.
Righi’s solo homer made it 2-1 and the Dragons tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on a double by Cole Russell, single by Righi and sacrifice fly by Jon Kuethe.
Tom Smith suffered a tough loss for East Peoria. He also went the distance, and threw only 76 pitches.
The game was rescheduled from an April 18 rainout.
After facing Peoria Richwoods at home Friday in a non-conference game at Harry Anderson Field, the Dragons will return to conference action at 4:15 p.m. Monday when they play host to Washington (14-7, 5-3).
SOFTBALL: Ten. That’s how many errors the Pekin softball team made Thursday in a 12-3 loss to visiting Dunlap in a Mid-Illini Conference game.
“You can’t recover from that,” said Dragons coach Skip Penning. “Give Dunlap credit. They hit the ball well. (Pekin pitcher) Lexi (Juergens) pitched a decent game considering it was the third day in a row she pitched.”
Grace Wyman, Juergens and Molly Flannigan each had an RBI for Pekin (4-9, 2-6), which led 3-2 after three innings.
Dunlap (9-10, 5-2) scored four times in the fourth to move in front 6-3, and added five runs in the sixth and one run in the seventh.
“All you can do after a game like that is forget about it and concentrate on being a better team tomorrow,” Penning said.
Pekin will play at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Canton in a conference game.
BOYS TENNIS: Macomb blanked Pekin 9-0 Thursday in a non-conference boys tennis match.
Ben Williams beat Brendan Guenther 6-3, 2-6, 10-7 at No. 1 singles and Williams and Alia Stone beat Guenther and Peyton Swearengin 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1 doubles.
Limestone will visit Pekin at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday for a Mid-Illini Conference match at John Moss Courts.
Steve Stein can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.